Open Enrollment is coming soon — beginning at 8 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 25 and ending at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 20 — with good news about premium costs, important changes to domestic partner eligibility and Health Net Blue & Gold, and a brand new benefit: pet insurance.

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Your Open Enrollment website and booklet will be available the week of Oct. 22, with all of the details about your options and costs, and what’s changing in 2019.

"We are satisfied with our efforts overall to keep most plans affordable compared to our peers and still provide high value benefits to faculty and staff," said Dwaine B. Duckett, vice president of Systemwide Human Resources.

2019 highlights

  • Continued low costs — Most faculty and staff will see medical plan premium increases of less than $6 per month. UC will continue to adjust premiums by pay level to ensure costs are distributed fairly, and to offer dental and vision plans for you and your family at no cost to faculty and staff. See this year’s rates.
  • Good news for domestic partners — If you are in a domestic partnership, you may have more options for enrolling your family members in health and welfare coverage next year. See below for new eligibility rules and what they mean for you and your family.
  • Changes for Health Net Blue & Gold – The plan has a new name, UC Blue & Gold HMO. Health Net will continue to offer medical benefits for Blue & Gold, and will begin providing behavioral health benefits, as well, through Managed Health Network (MHN), a Health Net company. See below for information about the transition, and a few other changes for Blue & Gold.
  • We love our pets! Protect your pets with UC’s new voluntary pet insurance. See below to learn more about how to enroll in plans for your dogs, cats, birds and even your iguana.
  • Boost your tax-free savings — What’s the difference between a Health Savings Account and a Health Flexible Spending Account, and which one should you choose? Your Open Enrollment booklet and website will help you decide.

Good news for domestic partners

Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, UC will offer access to health and welfare benefits based on the same eligibility criteria for all domestic partners. The current requirement for opposite-gender domestic partners that one or both be age 62 and eligible for Social Security will no longer apply.

During Open Enrollment, you may enroll your domestic partner, and your partner’s eligible dependents, in health and welfare benefits that are open for enrollment as long as the relationship meets established criteria. If you would like to enroll your newly-eligible domestic partner in Life and/or Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, or increase your own Life coverage, you will have a Period of Initial Enrollment from Jan. 1-31, 2019. See your benefits portal for details.

It is important to understand whether enrolling your partner or dependents subjects you to imputed income on your federal or state taxes. See What to do if you’re establishing a domestic partnership for full details about eligibility, establishing your partnership for UCRP benefits, and tax implications of enrolling your domestic partner in benefits.

Health Net Blue & Gold becomes UC Blue & Gold HMO

With a new name, UC Blue & Gold HMO will continue to offer medical benefits through Health Net’s network of providers tailored for UC — including many UC Health medical centers.

Managed Health Network (MHN), a Health Net company, will replace Optum Behavioral Health as administrator of UC Blue & Gold HMO’s behavioral health benefits, effective Jan. 1, 2019. MHN will continue as the administrator of behavioral health benefits for Health Net Seniority Plus. For questions about the behavioral health transition, and about support available to you if your behavioral health provider is not part of MHN’s network, call MHN at 800-663-9355.

The UC Blue & Gold HMO network is expanding to include select CVS Minute Clinic walk-in locations, with visits covered with a $20 copay for routine visits and $0 copay for preventive care.

Pet insurance plans through Nationwide

UC is offering a new option for your family – preferred pricing on pet insurance through Nationwide. Nationwide has two benefit options designed for the pets of UC faculty, staff and retirees – coverage for accidents and illness or more comprehensive coverage that also includes preventive care and wellness services. Plans are available for dogs, cats, birds, small mammals and exotics (such as reptiles); animals categorized as livestock (including horses) are not eligible.

You can enroll in pet insurance at any time – not just during Open Enrollment – and your coverage will be effective the day your application is approved by Nationwide. That means you can enroll beginning Oct. 25 for coverage in 2018, or you can enroll mid-year when a new pet joins your family. Premiums vary depending on your type of pet and where you live, and you’ll pay your premiums directly to Nationwide.

Learn more and enroll on the Nationwide website at You can also call Nationwide at 877-738-7874.